FABI enjoyed a significant presence at the IUFRO meeting focused on shoot, leaf and wilt diseases of forest trees held from the 6th to the 10th May in Figline Valdarno (near Florence, Italy). The meeting was a combined event of the IUFRO Working Parties 7.02.02 (Leaf and Shoot Diseases) and 7.02.03 (Wilt Diseases).  The latter group has been revived by Dr Irene Barnes of FABI and Dr Alberto Santini (Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection, Florence).  The meeting was provided the umbrella title “Phyllosphere Diseases”. 

Prof. Mike Wingfield and Prof. Brenda Wingfield joined Irene Barnes as representatives of FABI at the meeting.  As IUFRO President, Mike presented a formal Welcome Address on behalf of IUFRO and this was followed by his Plenary Lecture “Leaf and shoot diseases of Forest Trees: Expanding Frontiers” with various FABIANS as co-authors.  Irene presented a keynote address “The rise of Ceratocystis” and Brenda presented a lecture on “Teratosphaeria diseases of Eucalyptus”, during the course of the meeting. 

Other than four days of outstanding presentations covering many aspects of leaf, shoot and wilt diseases of forest trees, the meeting included a superb field trip through parts of Tuscany seriously affected by diseases including Cypress canker and canker-stain disease of plane trees.  Research conducted in FABI was mentioned in many talks during the meeting and various FABI team members were co-authors of papers presented by colleagues from countries outside South Africa.  In all a superb opportunity not only to share some of the outstanding research being conducted at FABI but also to meet with colleagues from other parts of the world and to establish new collaborative research ventures important to global tree health